Family films to see at the cinema this week
Fancy a trip to the cinema, but don’t know what would be fun with the kids? Here’s our up-to-date guide of family films, written by Mike Davies especially with families and kids in mind. Everything from small scale films to great blockbusters for all the family!
Please note that not all 12A films are appropriate for younger children. Let’s Go With The Children offers a guide to what’s suitable for family viewing.
New releases out now
Christopher Robin (PG)
AA Milne’s beloved characters come to life as, many years after young Christopher Robin said goodbye to Pooh and his other animal chums in The House at Pooh Corner, the bear of little brain (voiced as ever by Jim Cummins) crawls out of his tree home to find all his friends have disappeared. So, travelling through a magic tree-trunk portal to London, he seeks out the now grown Christopher (Ewan McGregor) for help. Too busy working to spend time with his wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), Christopher is now head of a luggage company efficiency department and has been told he needs to make cuts.
However, in taking Pooh back to the Hundred-Acre Wood, he also gets back in touch with his childhood, reuniting with bouncy Tigger, timid Piglet, gloomy Eeyore and the others. Even so, he still has to make that important meeting. Unaware the papers he needs are no longer in his briefcase, now it’s up to Madeline, Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet to take them to post-war London.
Bringing imagination and real life together, with Pooh and the other toys all presented as living, talking creatures, the film carries a message about putting your priorities in order and the value of family. There’s a warm nostalgic glow, the animals are lovingly designed to show the fabric through the worn fur and there are lots of references to the original books. On the downside, the plot is a little clumsy and repetitive, making the film often slow-going for grown-ups and kids alike. Get in touch with your inner child but they might suggest you avoid it. 104 mins
LGWTC guidance: Not a patch on Paddington.
The Meg 3D (12A)
Unashamed B-movie big fish popcorn nonsense, five years on from a submarine rescue mission that saw him having to leave behind his two best friends, Jonas Turner (Jason Statham) has quit the diving business. Then along comes old buddy Mac and marine scientist Zhang from a research facility off China, who want his help to rescue the crew of a trapped submersible that has been attacked by what is quite possibly the same creature Turner encountered.
This turns out to be a 75ft Megaladon, a prehistoric shark long thought to be extinct and now it’s followed them up out of the depths. So, along with the rest of the facility, among them tech whizz Jaxx, medic Harlan, billionaire financier Morris and romantic interest Suyin, they set about planning to go kill it.
Family friendly in dialling down the blood, swearing and even any kissing, it does what it’s supposed to do and, naturally, finds room to flag up eco messages about mankind and nature.
Brainless – and to some extent toothless – fun. Who knows what other oversized amphibians might be waiting to swim their way up from the depths to a sequel? 113 mins Also in 2D
LGWTC guidance: A movie minnow compared to Jaws, but still fin fun.
Ant-Man and the Wasp 3D (12A)
Absent from Infinity War after being under house arrest for siding with Captain America in Civil War, divorced dad Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) aka Ant-Man, finds himself back in action when it turns out he may have the key to rescuing Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp, the wife of scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and mum to Hope (Evangeline Lilly), the new Wasp, from the sub-atomic Quantum Realm.
This means breaking curfew and rising from 290 years in jail. Pym’s high-tech lab are the target of both a high tech trafficker (Walter Scoggins) and a mysterious woman dubbed Ghost who can phase through solid objects. With the addition of scene-stealing Michael Peña as Scott’s security firm partner, Laurence Fishburne as Pym’s former partner in the Goliath project and Abby Ryder Forston as Scott’s supercute daughter, the film rattles along through thrilling and brilliantly silly scenes involving cars and buildings. The gags and one-liners make this the funniest Marvel movie since Guardians. Don’t leave before the end credits or you’ll miss two bonus scenes, one which ties it back in with Infinity War and sets up the next sequel.
118 mins Also in 2D and IMAX 3D.
LGWTC guidance: fANTastic
Teen Titans Go! To The Movies (PG)
This is a big-screen spin-off from the Cartoon Network TV series and the junior Justice League comprising of transformer Beast Boy, Cyborg, portal-manipulating Raven, alien princess Starfire and Batman’s boy wonder sidekick, Robin. This may be aimed at the younger end of the superhero audience, but it’s laced with enough in-jokes and humour to please those who’ve outgrown the plethora of fart and poop jokes.
Robin’s fed up of no one taking him seriously, the reason being, according to Superman is that unlike himself, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, don’t have their own movies. Indeed, even Batman’s car and utility belt have one.
Robin’s determined to get his own movie, but first they need a super-villain nemesis.
The movie rattles energetically along and cheerfully sends up the whole DC Universe as well as cinema clichés. It may not be a Marvel movie, but it still has a Stan Lee cameo. 88 mins
LGWTC guidance: If only the Justice League movie had been this much fun!
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (12A)
Not one for young kids, each M:I film has exceeded its predecessor and if the sixth doesn’t quite top Rogue Nation, it’s every bit its equal. Picking up shortly after Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team brought down the Syndicate, headed by rogue agent Solomon Lane (Sean Haris), it seems the remaining members have become terrorists for hire organisation The Apostles. They’re after three stolen plutonium devices, with which the mysterious John Lark intends to cause mass destruction in his insane vision of creating peace out of suffering. Hunt’s charged with securing the plutonium, but, when the set up goes pear-shaped, they’re stolen away, leading CIA Director Erica Sloan (Angela Basset) to put her best agent, August Walker (Henry Cavill), on the case and to eliminate Hunt if he doesn’t play ball.
Starting with a skydive by Hunt and Walker over Paris, it delivers a series of white knuckle sequences that include a motorbike chase round Paris, a brutal fight in a night club bathroom and a helicopter chase over the Kashmir mountains.
Being an M:I film there’s naturally multiple misdirections and double or triple crosses with characters not being what they seem. Cruise is as charismatic as ever but the film never allows that to sideline the support cast of Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames, or, getting a bigger role in the field this time round, Alec Baldwin as the head of the IMF.
Globe trotting between Belfast, Berlin, Paris, London and the Himalayas, it may play fast and loose with plausibility but when Sloan snipes that the IMF are a bunch of grown men in rubber masks playing trick or treat, she nails the film’s pleasures right on the head. 147 mins. Also in 3D IMAX.
LGWTC Guidance: Quite simply the action blockbuster of the summer. Choose to accept it.
Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation 3D (U)
The third instalment lacks the wit of the original and the emotional notes of the sequel, but it does have more fart jokes. Opening with a sequence showing how Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his fellow monsters have been pursued through the ages by the Van Helsings, it cuts to the present where Drac’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) plans a family ocean cruise to give dad a break from running the hotel.
Not happy about having a getaway break on a floating hotel, Dracula’s in a tetchy mood until he sees the ship’s glamourous human captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), and is immediately smitten. She too seems to have eyes for him and his fellow monsters do their best to bring them together. But, little do they know that the cruise has very different agenda to romance.
All of which plays out in a series of subplots and escapades, the film rattles rapidly along with slapstick, jokes and pop culture references. The animation is as sharp as before but there’s less of an emotional anchor this time around.
Kids who loved the other two won’t be disappointed, but the franchise is beginning to wear a little thin. 97 mins. Also in 2D.
LGWTC Guidance: Fangs ain’t what they used to be, but there’s enough silliness and action to bat this along amiably enough.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (U)
Both a sequel and prequel to the first film, itself an adaptation of the stage musical hit, again built around ABBA songs, a current storyline is paralleled by the story of how, in 1979, the young Donna (Lily James) sets off to find herself, winding up on the Greek island of Kalokairi.
The film shifts back and forth as the two storylines play out, with the past resonating with the present.The main cast delivers solid vocal performances (their charismatic younger counterparts can hold a tune but wisely, this time Brosnan, Firth and Skarsgard only sing in group numbers). We are even treated to a special guest appearance from Cher, with the music lifting to a whole new level as she breaks out into a duet with Garcia.
The casting of the characters’ younger selves is inspired, so much so that it’s often only the clothes that indicate if you’re watching James or Seyfried. They both give warm and engaging performances, but plaudits are especially due to Keenan Wynn and Davies whose comic timing is a highlight. 114 mins.
LGWTC Guidance: Massive exuberant fun and more moving than you might expect, how can you resist it!
Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie (U)
When a mischievous little racing car called Ace passes through Sodor on his way around the world, Thomas is inspired to embark on his own ambitious trip. Travelling full steam ahead across five continents, Thomas discovers magnificent new sights and experiences exciting places and cultures. Along the way, he makes friends with an inspiring and fun Kenyan engine called Nia.
With so much for Thomas to learn about the world, will Nia be successful in teaching him a lesson about the true meaning of friendship? Featuring a world of wonder, curiosity and amazing animal friends, join Thomas on an epic adventure, fulfilling his dream of seeing the world! 85 mins.
LGWTC Guidance: Full steam ahead for the pre-schoolers.
Not all 12A films are appropriate for younger children. Let’s Go With The Children offers a guide to what’s suitable for family viewing.